Thursday, February 14, 2013

Madness

I was raised by both my parents. My father was gone much of the time. He frequently traveled, drank, or worked 80 hour weeks. My mother held down the household and insisted on attempting some sort of normalcy.
One of the strangest periods of my life was the years when my grandmother and her husband lived with us. He was awesome. He was 1/2 Native American loved to smoke. He would let you have a few sips of his beer while he told stories about killing people in the war. I was always mezmorized by his tattoo. He liked his slippers, getting his hands dirty. He had the vague smell of motor oil. I admired him. They way he took his teeth out to make us laugh. He seemed real to me.

My grandmother needed him. I am not sure what caused her condition but by the time she lived with us, she had delusions. She would think you were other people " the Rhondas and the Bettys". She would talk to the tv. She scared the living hell out of me and was my caretaker an entire summer. My breakfasts of raisin bran and Lemon Metamucil were followed by any sort of activity that drew me into my shell. I didn't know how to say "she makes me afraid" but I knew how I felt. As an adult working in the mental health field, I have more understanding and more compassion for her.

Today I realize she was a woman she ahead of her time. She spoke four languages English, Spanish, German, and Italian. She worked with small electronics. When the women went back into the kitchen from the factories when the war ended, she did not give up her vocation. She was a painter, a mother, an individual . She was what we all can become when biology and heredity combine for a perfect storm of madness



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